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The inscription on my first green scrapbook said, in my loopy, 11-year-old cursive, “I am a Deltiographer”—though a quick internet search reveals that the correct term for a postcard collector is a Deltiologist! Forgive this 70’s child for not having internet.
Whenever anyone told me about an upcoming trip of theirs, I begged for a postcard and checked the mail as soon as got home from school. On top of that, and often in opposition, I collected stamps. Tough decisions abounded when a postcard showed up with a great stamp that I couldn’t steam off the paper.
When I went away each summer to my beloved YMCA Camp Wanakita in Ontario, Canada, my bag was full of pens, paper, envelopes, stickers, and stamps. Though you could purchase stamps and postcards at Tuck, the canteen, I didn’t want to wait until my first Tuck day to start writing notes to family and friends.
Every weekday, a lovely counselor named Snets, short for Snetsinger, marched around the dining hall handing out mail and care packages, and teasing me for the exorbitant amount I received and sent. (Sorry trees.) I watched Snetz out of the corner of my eye as he zigzagged through the dining hall and giddily awaited his arrival at my table to see if—but really how many—pieces of mail I had received that day.
My grandparents were always great about sending care packages, and when I was 14, my grandmother in Michigan shipped an ingenious one. Included in the box of treats and ointments was homemade banana bread, wrapped tightly in both plastic wrap and foil. But instead of packing the box and fragile bread with packing peanuts, she filled it with popcorn! Unbuttered, so as not to be soggy. Imagine my delight with an entirely edible care package. I fed my entire cabin for days, and of course, shot her off a postcard of thanks that evening.
Now with two children of my own, aged ~2 and 4 1/2, I sing songs from Wanakita to them every night before bed and dream of the day when they will go to camp so I can bring this care package tradition back to our family.
I really hope I get a thank you note in return, too.